Studies have shown that partners who do more around the house have more sex, but those studies did not take the type of housework into consideration before reaching a final conclusion. According to a recent study published in American Sociological Review, men who do “women’s” chores are less likely to have sex than men who partake in more “manly” chores around the house.

Researchers questioned 4,500 couples in the United States as part of the National Survey of Families and Households. All couples were heterosexual and married at the time they filled out the questionnaire. Surveys were completed between 1992 and 1994, which could put a damper on the results as households have changed dramatically in the past 20 years.

Couples spent about 34 hours each week completing what was defined as women’s work. Men’s work, however, accounted for just 17 hours a week. About 20% of the time men helped women with female-defined chores, but women helped with male-defined chores more than 50% of the time. Men claimed to have sex about five times in the previous month, but when women completed the majority of female-defined chores, that number increased 1.6 times.

Researchers were surprised by how the traditional definitions of male and female chores impacted sex life, but they also noted that marriage and parental definitions have changed in the past 30 to 40 years. Today, more men are stay-at-home dads than they were just 20 years ago when this survey was completed. Stay-at-home dads often complete nearly 100% of female-defined chores while wives take the role of major breadwinner.

It is important to note that female and male chores are defined differently in each marriage. For the sake of the study, researchers used traditional societal definitions. Authors claimed men should not use the results of this study to get out of helping around the house.

Source: S. Kornrich, J. Brines, K. Leupp. Egalitarianism, Housework, and Sexual Frequency in Marriage. American Sociological Review, 2013; 78 (1): 26 DOI: 10.1177/0003122412472340.